Frequently Asked Questions
With so many new options for End-of-Life Veterinary Care available for Long Island families, an important question to ask is "How to know which Service/Company is the best option for my family?".
We highly recommend reading our "Why Comforted Companions" section as well as our "About Dr. Alexis" section of this website to learn important information on Certified Home Euthanasia
and why Comforted Companions is the most unique option in the area.
In addition to reading our informative website, we highly recommend reading our
Google Reviews to read what actual clients are saying about their compassionate experience.
How will I know when it is the “right time” to euthanize my pet? Is my pet suffering?
This is the most common question asked in regard to in home euthanasia. As pet owners, you have more knowledge than you may think as you know your pet better than anyone else. You are ultimately our best resource in assessing your pet’s quality of life through all of your experiences with them through the years as well as knowing individual personality traits that make him/her the pet you know and love. To further assist families in being able to answer this question, Dr. Alexis personally offers FREE 15-20 minute phone consults. This also allows your family time to get to know the veterinarian coming to your home. and has also created what she calls the “Quality of Life Assessment appointment”. During her phone calls, owners are given honest and informative guidance. If she feels that more can be done for your pet, she will tell you. She is extremely supportive, but very honest and only wants what is best for your family. During her full telemedicine appointments (Currently unavailable to book these appointments due to a limited schedule with Covid), she will address your concerns so that she can guide you on reading your pet’s ability to navigate his/her environment, to enable you to notice slight changes in your pet's personality, body language and facial expressions, as well as recognize subtle signs of pain, etc. This appointment option is intended to allow families to feel as if they made this difficult decision at the most appropriate time for their pet.
How long is the typical home euthanasia appointment and what should I expect?
Dr. Alexis has been a dedicated member of the Pet Hospice community ever since her Hospice Manager days while in Vet School starting back in 2013. She has 4 years experience as a Vet in this specific line of work and has helped over 2,500 families with compassionate End-of-Life Veterinary Care. She is currently the only Veterinarian on Long Island with the top qualifications for at home euthanasia and euthanasia techniques. She is not only a licensed Veterinarian (NY and CO), but she is one of only 215 Veterinarians in the world who completed an additional 1.5 years of advanced training in Geriatric and End-of-Life Veterinary Care, especially home euthanasia techniques.
Below is an outline/timeline of her specific appointment. There is a very specific method to this procedure, especially in a home setting. Being Certified means that Dr. Alexis personally tailors the appointment with the animal’s best interest and family’s best interests in mind, including children and other pets. Dr. Alexis operates alone with no tech or assistant as more individuals in the home means more stress for the pet. Dr. Alexis also utilizes the AVMA techniques and methods for End-of-Life care. A little extra time at your home, means less stress and less discomfort for your pet as these techniques are minimally invasive.
Certified Home Euthanasia Appointments are typically one full hour in the home. While this timeline may not be a good fit for every family, there is a reason why Certified appointments last at least one hour as detailed below:
A ~15 minute introduction which includes payment and required paperwork. Dr. Alexis purposely completes paperwork and payment in the home as this gives your pet time to learn that Dr. Alexis is a friend. Appointments and memorial items are always customizable. Dr. Alexis will have samples on hand so that your family can have the exact items you are hoping for. Dr. Alexis also walks you through the entire process. In her experience as well as the experience of her clients, this has been extremely helpful and anxiety relieving so that you can know what is expected, then we can simply focus more on your pet and less on what Dr. Alexis is doing, as you will already know... It should not be forgotten that euthanasia, especially in a home setting, is a medical procedure. Dr. Alexis is an expert in this specific area of Veterinary Medicine and she will be there every step of the way for your family.
The next step is a gradual, FULL sedation or anesthetic (a simple light or mild sedative is not within AVMA guidelines and pets are to be fully sedated of anesthetized.) This can take 5-15 minutes depending on a number of patient factors and his/her current condition. This is the most important portion of the appointment and timing can be unpredictable, but Dr. Alexis will administer to your pet what he or she needs during this moment.
The next ~15 minutes include peacefully assisting the pet, doctor clean up and family privacy +/- a paw-print. This also allows time for children and other pets in the home to say goodbye.
The last 5-15 minutes include comfortably and respectfully tucking in the pet for transport and carrying to Dr. Alexis’ car to take time to say goodbye. (Dr. Alexis is partnered with a Certified Private Crematory, Pet Meadow. She has used Pet Meadow for her own pets and adores their staff and the respect they provide to her patients and their families. Pet Meadow has the same standard of care and respect that Dr. Alexis has for each family she helps. Typically ashes return is within 1.5-2 weeks. Ashes return to your regular veterinarian's office ensures the quickest return available pending the crematory's schedule.)
Dr. Alexis promises to be as flexible and as accommodating as possible in order to help your family the best way she can. But, please understand that most portions of the appointment are put in place for a reason and it is extremely rare that Dr. Alexis is at a home for less than 45 minutes as she is currently the only Home Euthanasia vet in the area working under AVMA preferred guidelines and IAAHPC protocols for End-of-Life Care, which is the most comprehensive option for local families.
If you have any questions or concerns, Dr. Alexis is always available by phone to make sure she is the right fit for your family. 516-402-4100 (Closed Thursdays) If you are waiting on a call back from her, we encourage you to read her Google Reviews to read what clients are saying about their thorough and caring experience.
You can find additional information about in home euthanasia services here.
What should I do with other pets in the home?
We fully support your decision on whether or not you wish to have other animals present during an appointment however, Dr. Alexis is a HUGE proponent of having all animals present if possible and will address canine and feline grief while in your home. There is also additional information on this topic in our pet loss support booklet. There is often the misconception that animals will become traumatized from witnessing another pet in the home pass away. However, being present helps them process the passing of your pet. On rare occasions, other animals in the house can become defensive with strangers in the home. In these cases, for safety purposes, Dr. Alexis may ask that this particular pet be placed in a separate part of the home until the end of the appointment at which point Dr. Alexis can step out & give this particular pet privacy to be near the patient after he/she passes.
What about having my children present?
Ultimately it is your decision whether or not a child is present. However, Dr. Alexis can guide you from her personal experience and what she has witnessed in homes in the past. A discussion with your children is important in guiding whether or not they will be present for the appointment and Dr. Alexis believes that honesty is the best policy and shielding children from the appointment could possibly lead to conflict down the road. She believes that if a child has an ability to love a pet, they should be given the opportunity to say goodbye in their own way. Sometimes the child wishes to be present for the entirety of the appointment while others will opt to stay in their room or go to a friend’s house, and all of this is okay! Young children often respond directly to their parents’ emotions while older children will often have a more complex response to the grieving process. We offer a pet loss support booklet, in which children and pet loss grief are addressed in greater detail. Either way Dr. Alexis will fully support your decision and has in home resources to help keep younger children occupied during appointments.
How do I prepare my home for a euthanasia appointment? What will the Doctor need from me?
Dr. Alexis wishes to make your experience during this difficult time as stress free as possible for you and your family. She will arrive prepared for the entire procedure, which she will explain to you and address any of your questions or concerns. Most owners will brainstorm a specific location in the home for the process to take place where they believe their pet will be most comfortable. Sometimes, a pet ends up picking a different location and Dr. Alexis is happy to work around your pet wherever he or she chooses to rest. It is often best to work in a spot your pet chooses on his/her own. You are also welcome to hold your loyal pet and show them love and affection while they lay right in your lap. The only assistance Dr. Alexis will require from owners is assistance with carrying your pet respectfully to her car for transport, specifically any pet over 35lbs. If you are uncomfortable or unable to assist in carrying your pet to the car (with the use of a stretcher and a comfy blanket,) Dr. Alexis can arrange for a transport helper for an additional fee of $50 (See additional fees section).
What if my family does not agree on
when to assist our pet?
When making a decision whether or not to euthanize a pet it can be very difficult for all members of a family to be on the same page at the same time. This varies by individual based on their relationship with the pet, time spent with the pet (working at home versus working outside of the home), and this decision can even vary by gender. At the end of the day, each family member will never be fully ready to say goodbye, but there are ways to set aside a specific date/time with which the whole family can feel more comfortable. For further assistance with this decision Dr. Alexis can preform a quality of life assessment appointment.
If you have any questions or concerns that are not addressed on this page, please feel free to contact Dr. Alexis prior to your appointment by phone at 516-402-4100.